Eternal Darkness – Black Rose (Steve Henifin)October 27, 2009
“Three thirty-three…” Ah yes, Eternal Darkness. Made in 2002 and one of the most underrated games of the era, this is the classic psychological horror title for the Gamecube, complete with zombies and an insanity meter that causes the character to hallucinate when it reaches a high level. The hallucinations can at times be hilarious (sinking through the floor, a blue screen of death) and at others disturbing (a dead woman in a bathtub full of blood). Settings include Medieval Europe, Colonial America, Cambodia, and World War I. The game has excellent writing and fantastic dialogue, solid play control, and of course a good soundtrack!
“Black Rose” is the theme of Maximilian Roivas, the hapless Colonial-era doctor who happens upon the Lovecraftian monsters that have set up home inside his Rhode Island mansion (or rather, that his mansion was built over). This once renowned medical doctor is eventually condemned to an insane asylum when nobody will believe his story (“May the rats eat your eyes! The Darkness comes! It will damn us all!!!”). The track has a great violin lead which when coupled with a guitar and bells gives a mix of not only 18th Century America but also oddly enough the American West. There are also some great sfx such as the storm outside and the flights of bats. I’m kind of torn between gothic Colonial and gothic Western for this, but it’s a great track either way.
Back when Nintendo Power had a store, you could purchase the Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem Sound Track for $10. I haven’t seen it on e-bay lately, but it can sell for more than three times this. On the plus, the soundtrack contains extended versions of tracks from the game. However, it adds voiceovers to several of the tracks, making it more of a picture album than an actual soundtrack. As such, the version on the Daily is from the game rip. Interestingly, the game uses 48khz audio, which is DVD standard – Silicon Knights knows not to skimp out on audio!
Steve Henifin is the resident composer at Silicon Knights. Aside from Eternal Darkness, he composed Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (PlayStation) and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (Gamecube), as well as the unsuccessful techno-viking action game Too Human (XBox 360).
Also interesting is that Eternal Darkness had an incredibly long development cycle (around five years), beginning its life as a Nintendo 64 title before eventually finding its way to the Gamecube around 2000. There was also a film contest to help advertise the game, with the winning entry going to Tyler Spangler and Michael Cioni’s The Cutting Room Floor. Despite being a fantastic game, Eternal Darkness did poorly in the marketplace, perhaps owing to the system’s younger demographic. The subtitle, Sanity’s Requiem, meant that the game was only one in a series, though the possibility of another Eternal Darkness game being created at this point seems dismal…